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Int J Cancer. 2014 Jan 15;134(2):306-18. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28371. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Meta-analysis of transcriptome reveals let-7b as an unfavorable prognostic biomarker and predicts molecular and clinical subclasses in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.

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Bioinformatics Institute, A*STAR, Singapore.


High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HG-SOC) is a heterogeneous, poorly classified, lethal disease that frequently exhibits altered expressions of microRNAs. Let-7 family members are often reported as tumor suppressors; nonetheless, clinicopathological functions and prognostic values of individual let-7 family members have not been addressed in HG-SOC. In our work, we performed an integrative study to investigate the potential roles, clinicopathological functions and prognostic values of let-7 miRNA family in HG-SOC. Using microarray and clinical data of 1,170 HG-SOC patients, we developed novel survival prediction and system biology methods to analyze prognostic values and functional associations of let-7 miRNAs with global transcriptome and clinicopathological factors. We demonstrated that individual let-7 members exhibit diverse evolutionary history and distinct regulatory characteristics. Statistical tests and network analysis suggest that let-7b could act as a global synergistic interactor and master regulator controlling hundreds of protein-coding genes. The elevated expression of let-7b is associated with poor survival rates, which suggests an unfavorable role of let-7b in treatment response for HG-SOC patients. A novel let-7b-defined 36-gene prognostic survival signature outperforms many clinicopathological parameters, and stratifies HG-SOC patients into three high-confidence, reproducible, clinical subclasses: low-, intermediate- and high-risk, with 5-year overall survival rates of 56-71%, 12-29% and 0-10%, respectively. Furthermore, the high-risk and low-risk subclasses exhibit strong mesenchymal and proliferative tumor phenotypes concordant with resistance and sensitivity to primary chemotherapy. Our results have led to identification of promising prognostic markers of HG-SOC, which could provide a rationale for genetic-based stratification of patients and optimization of treatment regimes.


cancer biomarker; high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma; microRNA let-7; survival prognosis; tumor classification

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